MIRC began in 1980 with the gift of the Fox Movietone News Collection. Since then, archival holdings have increased to an estimated 6000 hours of footage in five main collecting areas: the Chinese Film Collection, Newsfilm Collections, Regional Film Collections, Science and Nature Films, and the U.S. Marine Corps Film Repository. Materials include local television news and commercials, home movies, cinemicroscopy nature films, and fiction and documentary films from the People's Republic of China.
Much of this material has never been publicly exhibited. It awaits the attention of genealogists, historians, naturalists, documentarians, experimental filmmakers, and all other intrepid inquirers.
Patrons wishing to learn more about our materials or consult the archives for an extended period of time should contact a curator to make arrangements. Curators are happy to assist patrons with reference requests. Citation guidelines for MIRC materials are available here.
Curators' areas of responsibility are as follows:
-Newsfilm Collections and the U.S. Marine Corps Film Repository – Greg Wilsbacher (gregwATmailbox.sc.edu)
-Regional Film Collections and the Chinese Film Collection – Lydia Pappas (pappaslATmailbox.sc.edu)
-Science and Nature Films and Local TV News Collections – Amy Ciesielski (ciesielATmailbox.sc.edu)
In October of 2009, the University of South Carolina welcomed an historic gift of films from the People's Republic of China. More than 1000 DVD titles were donated by the Hanban, headquarters for Confucius Institutes worldwide. The gift also includes nearly 900 titles on 35mm and 16mm film donated by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America (Washington, D.C.) The Embassy collection is a document of cultural diplomacy representing what Chinese officials thought Americans should see and know about China after the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979. Films include documentaries of life in China, animated films, and fiction films.
The initial core of the archive, these collections include:
Bob Blair Collection
Documents the wartime activity of a civilian newsreel cameraman, providing information about the policies governing the work of civilian reporters covering the D-Day landings. The collection also provides photo documentation of life as a NBC news cameraman in the early days of broadcast news. These records document the high points of Blair’s work in television news. The collection also includes significant equipment holdings that demonstrate the physical nature of moving image journalism during this period.
Television station owner and film distributor C. E. Feltner donated 2 million feet of 35 mm film, including several stock footage libraries. The collection is currently being processed. Only a few titles have been added to the reference catalog. In the catalog, story numbers are prefixed by FTNR. The University licenses some, but not all, content from this collection.
The core gift that established the archive in 1980, the Fox Movietone News Collection comprises more than 2000 hours of edited stories, complete newsreels, and associated outtakes from the silent Fox News and sound Fox Movietone News Library. This unique film material dates from 1919-1934 and from 1942-1944. It is supplemented by paper records, some of which may be examined online in the digital collection, Fox Movietone News: The War Years. A comprehensive index to this collection is available through the reference catalog. In the catalog, story numbers are prefixed by MVTN. Approximately half of the collection may be viewed online or in our public reference room during regular opening hours. A second curated digital collection examines African Americans Seen Through the Eyes of the Newsreel Cameraman. The University has the exclusive right to license content from this collection.
Comprised of over 40 hours of motion picture film and video, photographs, paper records and equipment, this collection documents the careers of two distinguished news cameramen who were also father and son. Through home movies and photographs the collection provides rare insight into the personal lives of news cameramen from the silent and early sound period. It also provides a detailed look at life as a U. S. Army Signal Corp cameraman during World War II.
Local Television News: WBTW-tv
This collection includes 16 mm footage shot by the news crews of Florence, SC's CBS affiliate from 1964 to 1977. The collection is currently being processed. A partial index is available through the reference catalog. In the catalog, story numbers are prefixed by WBTW. A few representative titles may viewed on video cassette in our public reference room during regular opening hours. The University licenses content from this collection.
This collection includes 16 mm footage shot by the news crews of Columbia, SC's NBC affiliate from 1959 to 1978 as well as two news magazines: WIS Awareness and Carolina Magazine. The collection is currently being processed. A partial index is available through the reference catalog. In the catalog, story numbers are prefixed by WIS. A few hundred representative titles may viewed on video cassette in our public reference room during regular opening hours. The University licenses content from this collection.
Local Television News: WLTX-tv
This collection includes 16 mm footage shot by the news crews of Columbia, SC's CBS affiliate from 1966 to mid-1976. The collection is currently being processed. A partial index is available through the reference catalog. In the catalog, story numbers are prefixed by WLTX. A few hundred representative titles may viewed on video cassette in our public reference room during regular opening hours. The University licenses content from this collection.
Marvin Lipman Collection
This collection includes material shot for a weekly news magazine aired on WRC-TV in the Washington, D. C. area. This collection is still being processed and is not yet available to the public, however a few sample titles have been added to the reference catalog with the prefix LPMN.
Regional Film Collections
These collections feature amateur films by persons who made their homes in the American South, films produced by or for the University of South Carolina, and films produced by or for other regional government entities. Many individual collections are still being processed.
If you have a home movie collection you are interested in donating, please see our Home Movie Collecting Policy.
Always Coming Home: The American Female Veteran Experience Archive is designed to provide ongoing documentation of the diverse combat and service situations women in the military face as well as recording the experiences of the increasing numbers of female veterans whose return to civilian life has been affected by their years of service. Women veterans are interviewed, on video, and invited to share their reasons for joining the military, their experiences while in service, and the opportunities and setbacks they have faced upon return to civilian life. This project includes the short documentary “Soldier Girl.” There are currently over 50 interviews in the archive.
Generously donated to the University by Brookgreen Gardens, the home movies of Anna and Archer Huntington provide rare color images of the artists' sculpture gardens in Georgetown, SC. Mostly filmed in the 1930s, the collection comprises 4568 ft. of 16 mm film. In the catalog, holdings are prefixed SCAR-Hunt. This collection is processed and available to researchers in the public research room.
This collection consists of home movies shot by Fredrick C. Adams from the 1920s through the 1950s in the Northeast, including Maine, Connecticut, Nova Scotia, and Labrador. The collection totals 11,192 feet of 16mm black-and-white film, 3,014 feet of 16mm color film, and 648 feet of 16mm lenticular color film.
General collections for MIRC regional films.
This collection is comprised of approximately 6000 ft. of 16 mm film (1920s - 1930s) produced by the family of Dr. Heyward Gibbes, Professor of Medicine at the University of South Carolina. The collection ranges in content widely from family life to hunting, to fishing in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It includes the family's camera, rewinds, projector and related ephemera. Some material is available for viewing in the public research room. In the catalog, holdings are prefixed SCAR-Gibbes. The University licenses content from this collection.
This home movie collection was shot by a U.S. Army dentist by the name of Dr. Kavadas. They were donated by his daughter, Despina Houlis, who is featured in them. They cover the 1940s to the 1980s and feature trips to Europe and many army bases on which Dr. Kavadas was stationed, as well as the usual family occasions such as weddings, birthdays, christmas celebrations, graduations and baptisms.
Itinerant filmmaking was a vibrant American tradition in the first half of the 20th century. Its practitioners would travel to a city or town, film its citizens, and then project the developed footage in a local movie theater for a modest fee. School children and local businesses were favorite subjects. Over the years, MIRC has acquired several examples of the genre documenting South Carolina communities in the 1930s and early 1940s, including films by H.C. Kunkleman, and the celebrated North Carolina-based filmmaker, H. Lee Waters.
Jim Covington Collection
This collection includes commercials and shorts shot by WIS Cameraman, Covington for the Midlands. This collection is still being processed and is not yet available to the public. The University does not presently license content from this collection.
This collection consists of one film donated by the film maker, John Bernard Herchak, showing life onbaord the USS Knox, stationed in the Pacific Theatre of Operations at the end of WWII.
John Shaw Billings Collection
A former editor of Life magazine, Shaw donated his personal copies of the March of Time (1943-55) news programs as well as his home movies (late 1930s to early 1960s) and a few feature films. This collection is still being processed and is not yet available to the public. The University does not presently license content from this collection.
This collection includes approximately 60,000 ft. of film donated by Carolyn Karst, daughter of Bernie Lever, founder of Southeastern Film Processing, the first motion picture laboratory in Columbia, SC. Additionally, the collection includes some advertising materials and equipment. The collection is indexed in the reference catalog as SCAR 1001-1225; SCAR 7001- 7005; SCAR 9001-9060; and SCAR 10001-10003.
The 25 home movie reels in the collection cover a diverse range of activities dating from the duo’s heyday in the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, with the bulk of the films concentrated between approximately 1938 and 1941. Within the collection are events including family gatherings; public appearances; trips both within the USA and abroad; Hollywood studio backlot footage; and other events that reveal the personal lives of a public family. In addition to the films, the donor provided clippings that give the researcher further contextual information on the Wisemans. These clippings may be accessed by researchers in the Lula Belle and Scotty Wiseman Collection file.
Home movies of Martin Martin, unknown family, including 12 16mm films, 1 super 8 film, and 2 audio tapes. Approximate date range: 1946-1960. Collection was purchased by donor at a garage sale. All attempts at trying to track down the family of Martin Martin, of New York and New Jersey, has failed. Films cover Monticello and Highland Park, a film shot in Korea, and many films of family members in home settings and vacation trips to Atlantic City and Miami.
This film collection consists of a Home Movie collection from the 1940s, mainly from the North Carolina region showing family events, and also featuring vacation trips to American destinations. They were donated by Mary H. Schaub.
These home movies were filmed by Mr. Olin E. Gambrell of Honea Path, SC, during the 1960s-1980s. They feature his time in the Army, as well as films of his family, his wedding, the birth of his children and various family celebrations in Honea Path, such as Easter and Christmas. This collection also includes film of Honea Path High School football team.
A former newsreel cameraman, Paul Rubenstein ran a film rental store. The collection includes an extensive library of Castle Film publications as well as Royal Home Movies. Westerns and animations feature strongly. The collection also includes an assortment of film rental catalogs of varying dates. This collection is still being processed and is not yet available to the public. In the catalog, records are prefixed RBSN.
This collection comprises approximately five hours of material (1,900' of b&w 35 mm film, 11,925' of b&w 16 mm film, and 50' of color 16 mm film). A fixture of Aiken society, Phelps (1894-1984) was an avid cinematographer in addition to being a sportswoman, gardener, and noted breeder of West Highland terriers. Her movies record her world travels as well as these pursuits. A finding aid is available on request. Material in this collection may be licensed.
A member of the Amateur Cinema League, Scott Nixon traveled widely from his home in Augusta, GA documenting these travels on 16 mm and Super 8 film (1930s to 1970s). Over 75,000 ft. of film was gifted to the University in 2000 by the Augusta Museum and the Augusta Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. In addition to family life, the collection is especially strong in its documentation of railroads and railway culture. The collection is currently being reprocessed. In the catalog, holdings are prefixed MCLS. Some materials are available access in the public research room.
Beginning in 1973 and continuing to 2009, the South Carolina Arts Commission built this collection primarily as a circulating film program to promote visual and media literacy for school-aged children across South Carolina. The collection currently comprises over 250 films, video materials, and related promotional and administrative papers. It includes well known experimental films such as The Red Balloon, La Jetee and Meshes of the Afternoon, along with regionally produced, independent films such as It's Grits, People Who Take Up Serpents and Maybe Next Week Sometime.
The collection includes 16 mm film shot by USC's Athletic Department from 1975 to 1990. This collection is still being processed and is not yet available to the public. A few representative titles may viewed on video cassette in our public reference room during regular opening hours. In the catalog, holdings are prefixed SPRT. The University licenses content from this collection.
Science and Nature Films
This collecting area includes popular science films, materials used in scientific experiements, anthropology footage, cinemicroscopy films, footage donated by the SC Department of Natural Resources, and films produced by USC faculty in their research.
This collection contains a restored print of the film "Studies of Apparent Behavior," as well as some modern interpretations of this film by recent film students. The original animated film was used in a a landmark study in in cognitive psychology and the field of interpersonal perception, particularly in relation to the attribution process when making judgments of others. Subjects were requested to interpret a film of three geometrical figures shown moving in various directions and at various speeds. Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmer published their results as “An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior," American Journal of Psychology, April 1944.
H. Philip Staats Collection
Films of H. Philip Staats, of Charleston, known for filming Bachman’s warbler (now presumed extinct) and for his trips to Africa.
Linda Fedigan Collection
Four reels of anthropology footage of Japanese macaque monkeys on a colony in Texas.
Donated by Roman Vishniac's daughter Mara Vishniac-Kohn in 1994, this collection comprises Vishniac's pioneering work in naturalist cinemicroscopy and photomicroscopy. It includes approximately 156,000 feet of motion picture film; more than 800 photographic negatives, slides, and prints; and paper records associated with these works. Film holdings include home movies and naturalist film experiments as well outtakes and working materials from the Living Biology film series. A complete list of films is searchable via the MIRC Catalog (a keyword search for the prefix "RVFC" will return all records). Access copies of several of the films are available for viewing in MIRC's public reference room. Other films can be made available on request. A selection of still images from the Vishniac Collection is available in the curated digital collection, Roman Vishniac: The Subject is Nature.
This collection comprises 16mm film shot by the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department (now the Department of Natural Resources) from the 1950s to the 1980s. The majority of the materials are pre-print elements including original camera footage, work prints, answer prints, outtakes, and sound tracks. The footage, which consists mostly of local animal species and locations, was used to create TV spots, educational films, and PSAs on topics including hunting and boating safety. A file of index cards is available to researchers upon request.
This collection is comprised of footage from the 1940s to the mid-1970s. It contains 12,300 reels of 16mm and 35mm film, recorded by Marine Corps photographers. The collection includes combat film from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, as well as films documenting training, testing, and public relations activities. In order to properly house and store this incredible resource, MIRC must raise the funds to build a safety film vault that will provide the cold storage needed to protect the perishable original film. Give now to help MIRC preserve these films from the USMC.